Digital Marketing for the Small Business – The real why should I do it?
Before you read this article, let’s set the reality table. The author is a small business owner with less than ten employees. He uses digital marketing for the majority of his advertising, and his marketing plan is integrated with social media and his website. And his attitude toward digital marketing a few years ago was negative and suspicious.
Does that sound like you?
If you are leaning toward ‘yes’, then let’s review the reasons he did such a 180 and now has energetically embraced digital marketing, and why you should strongly consider it.
Reason 1: What used to work is not working anymore – part one
Maybe you have tried printed ads, billboards, and even direct mail. If you have, you probably have noted that your return on investment is not what it used to be. Aside from some business where what they do or sell is still perfect for printed media, most businesses waste their advertising dollars on this method. Many have chucked it out the window entirely. Have you seen the weight loss program your yellow pages book is on? Some of it can be useful, but digital marketing is the thing today that works, if it is done right. Small businesses cannot afford to keep doing something poorly. We do not have the resources for it and we do not have the time to deal with it.
Reason 2: What used to work is not working anymore – part two
How many times have you heard “it’s all about relationships”? Thousands, right? And guess what? It is all about relationships. But we have to redefine our concept of what a relationship is. Traditionally, we relied on physical, social relationships to build a business. It was who you knew, and what they could do for you. That and business referrals. Or word of mouth. Again, all very valuable but now very hard to do. Why? The world has changed. Social media is now prevalent and people don’t physically interface like they used to in business social settings. Organizations built for facilitating business interfacing, more commonly known as business networking, are seeing less participation and less excitement in their meetings and events. Then, you see the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, which isolated people even more. Everything went even more electronic – buying, selling, networking, advertising, etc. And at the center of this new culture, digital marketing concepts, tools, and skills sits and waits to be exploited.
Reason 3: Digital Marketing is the Great Equalizer
Highly effective traditional marketing costs a lot of money. The big boys on the block have more money than you. They can afford the sales reps, the longstanding billboards, the glossy ads, and the imposing amount of direct mail. You cannot. You need a hero. Enter digital marketing. This hero can be as expensive as you say and still be effective. It can be as selective as you need and still hit the right target audience. It can even be used only when you say so. Let’s take billboards for a moment, and say that it costs $5000 plus $500 for production for a year’s exposure. You are told that 400,000 drivers will see your board. Sounds cheap per person, right? But, how many of them are your target audience. How many will disregard it after seeing it once? After all, it is not moving. It is not changing its message. Digital marketing is like a billboard except the message was shown to you because you were interested, and at some point, you may see it with a different message. It is moving because you saw it on one electronic platform, like Facebook, and the next time on Google. It is fresh, energetic, and inexpensive! You now have a means to compete with your bigger competition.
Reason 4: Digital Marketing is Inexpensive, maybe
The thing about digital marketing is this, you can wisely or unwisely spend your money. It is so easy to spend too. Used wisely, digital marketing is probably the least expense advertising cost out there. And here is another ringer. Digital marketing is often free! How would you like to reach 400,000 potential customers and not pay a cent? It can be done. A good digital marketer can utilize both the free and paid channels for you and get your brand recognized and your services investigated by interested prospects. However, you will have to pay the marketer something for his help. But it is a small price to pay.
Reason 5: Digital Marketing is Controllable
Back to the billboard example. Three months into the yearly contract you realize it is not working for you, or you really want to promote a new product or service that your current sign is not promoting. What do you do? Another board? More expense. What you want to do is to change the message dynamically. If the bill board is electronic and the vendor allows it, you can do that. But the $5k example is out the window. Try paying double or more for that. With digital marketing, changing the message, the target audience, the graphics, whatever, can be done quickly and cheaply.
The author wrestled with these marketing issues and came to these conclusions before going nuts over digital marketing and its ability to impact his business. The key element to remember is that you do not have to go it alone with Digital Marketing. There are a lot of skills involved to make the transition from what isn’t working anymore to Digital Marketing, but there are people out there that can do it with you. Find a good one and see how this marketing approach can help your business get noticed. After that, it is up to you.